"I am a Taiwanese" in Czech transcription

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The speaker of the Czech senate addresses Taiwan's parliament alluding to JFK's ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ — and finishes by saying "Wǒ shì Táiwān rén 我是台湾人" ("I am Taiwanese") in (an attempt at) Mandarin.

The video is in Czech but it's easy to spot where this happens — right before the ovation — at 1:12.

The video is embedded here: 

"Vystrčil na Tchaj-wanu připomněl slavná slova Kennedyho. Dočkal se potlesku ve stoje", Zahraničí

You may have to watch through several ads in Czech.  It's fun to listen to them.

Jichang Lulu remarks:

Based on his pronunciation, I think he was most likely reading from a Czech transcription: wo š' Tchaj-wan-žen. Unusually among European languages using the Roman alphabet, Czech usage still generally prefers a non-pinyin transcription. Unlike that of other politicians who have said a few Chinese phrases (e.g. Malcolm Turnbull), Vystrčil likely had no exposure to the language and was simply pronouncing the transcription as Czech. The fact that this still sounds recognisable is perhaps an argument in favour of preserving this transcription for use in the media.

For the past year or so, the Czechs have been putting up stiff resistance to all sorts of overtures, initiatives, threats, and demands advanced by the PRC.

From Reuben F. Johnson in Kiev:

This is priceless —

"Czech mayor calls CCP 'rude clowns' after threats over Taiwan trip:  Prague district mayor warns China will pay 'heavy price for bullying' Czech Senate president"

By Keoni Everington, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2020/09/01 12:59

The story is about the mayor of Prague hitting back at the Chinese communists over their threats issued due to the visit to TW by the president of the Czech Senate.

Here is the link to the mayor’s FB posting:


Here is a translation of his letter in the original Czech:

Addressed to: Comrade Wang, minister of foreign affairs People's Republic China etc..

Calling for immediate apology for threats against Czech Republic.


This was the last time you opened your mouth about CR! Your behavior has substantially crossed the lines of what is diplomatically acceptable. You daring to threaten senate chairman will pay a heavy price, you ill-mannered rude clowns!

Now listen to me, comrade minister. PRC will apologize asap for the shameless threat. And when I say asap, I mean right now! I want to have it in 24 hours on the table of Czech foreign minister. Btw, he agrees with me, but has to keep his mouth shut because of pact of not very sane mercenary Miloš Zeman with our premier, co-conspirator Babiš. But that doesn't mean you will bully us like this.

Be ashamed and acknowledge that in future even a tone which would implicate threat towards representatives of our sovereign country I will make you pay a heavy price for bullying, and you won't like it. You will not train us from position of strength and I warn you that reaction from our side will be same even if you had invested 14x more than our friends from Taiwan instead of 14x less.

Wake up. You will not shit on us. Do not let this to be repeated.

Send me the copy of the apology on email, so I can put it in archives and forget your pathetic diplomatic fuck up you have just made. Don't piss me off.

With pretending regards.
Pavel Novotný, mayor of Prague-Řeporyje

I wish we could get Pompeo to talk like this.

From Olga Lomová:

This is indeed unbelievable, I did not know about the letter. I am sorry for the young Chinese guy in the embassy who will have to translate the letter into Chinese (and I would like to see it; I have to admit there are some expressions I cannot imagine how they would be expressed in Chinese).

For the number 14 – Taiwan invests in Czech Republic 14 times as much as China

The better I get to know the Czech people, the more I am in awe of them.


Selected readings

"French girl sells crêpes in a Taiwan market" (4/9/20)

"Graduation speech by a West African student at National Taiwan University" (6/10/20)

"The importance of being and speaking Taiwanese" (7/21/20

"A Ghanaian-Taiwanese in the military service" (7/26/20)

[Thanks to Vito Acosta]


  1. F said,

    September 1, 2020 @ 6:48 pm

    He's the mayor of Řeporyje, a small suburb within Prague city limits, not Prague as a whole.

  2. Victor Mair said,

    September 2, 2020 @ 1:02 am

    Courtesy of Kateřina Procházková who knows how to navigate the Senate website…

    Here's the full official transcript translated into English.


    Please let me also express in person my support to Taiwan and the ultimate value of freedom and conclude today’s speech at your Legislative Yuan in Taiwan with perhaps a more humble, but equally strong statement: “I am a Taiwanese.“ Wo shi Taiwan ren.

  3. Victor Mair said,

    September 2, 2020 @ 1:03 am

    Here's a table with the Czech Chinese transcription system and pinyin and WG equivalents, on the website of the Czech Academy of Sciences.


  4. Victor Mair said,

    September 2, 2020 @ 1:16 am

    From Jichang Lulu:

    Please note this is not the Mayor of Prague (Hřib), but the mayor of one of the Prague districts, Řeporyje. They are from different political parties.

    A known political enfant terrible, the mayor of the Prague district of Řeporyje, has decided to respond in kind to the PRC MFA's childish tantrums (which most of us have long stopped even noticing).

    Warning: strong language. The thread includes an imperfect but serviceable translation.


    Here's Řeporyje:

  5. Philip Taylor said,

    September 2, 2020 @ 2:19 am

    "Based on his pronunciation, I think he was most likely reading from a Czech transcription: wo š' Tchaj-wan-žen".

    I am more familiar with spoken Czech than I am with spoken MSM, but to me it sounded as if the first two elements has been elided in his cue sheet, i.e. "Woš' Tchaj-wan-žen". I hear no pause after the "Wo" at all, as if 我是 (Wǒ shì) were all one word.

  6. Coby Lubliner said,

    September 2, 2020 @ 12:01 pm

    What I find interesting is the transcription of pinyin , which represents an aspirated "t" sound, as , since in Czech "t" is not aspirated.

  7. Coby Lubliner said,

    September 2, 2020 @ 12:02 pm

    I forgot to precede the angle brackets with a slash, so they were lost. I meant to write \ and \.

  8. Coby Lubliner said,

    September 2, 2020 @ 12:03 pm

    How about /<?

  9. Coby Lubliner said,

    September 2, 2020 @ 12:04 pm

    Never mind angle brackets. I meant to write "t" and "tch".

  10. Philip Taylor said,

    September 2, 2020 @ 1:54 pm

    I think what you were seeking, Coby, was <ampersand>lt<semi-colon>. You can, if you wish, then close with <ampersand>gt<semi-colon> but it is not required — a bare <greater-than> will suffice.

  11. Thomas Rees said,

    September 3, 2020 @ 6:02 am

    Would an ordinary Czech interpret “tch” as /tʰ/? I’m a Spanish speaker and don’t know what I’d make of “tj”. I’d probably think it was Dutch!

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